By: Gavin Kelleher | Writer
Three important tips for a healthy “social” experience
Social media–the platform that interconnects and intertwines our generation. This collective experience is full of individuality but also of imitations. Here are three main things to focus on in order to ensure your social media experience does not suppress your originality and happiness.
Maintaining your individuality.
With so much content accessible to everyone, social media has endless exposure to the world. Yet it is also limiting. This vast collection of data is too often only portrayed in a very specific light. Teenagers and adults alike often emulate the habits and modifications of a few prominent social media figures, presenting themselves in mostly the same way, losing their unique qualities. People choose very carefully what they search for, talk about, and post on social media. This paradigm of expression has become somewhat of a fraud. In order to portray this image, people carefully select what they want to be on social media and cover up their true identity. This form of expression becomes easily overwhelming. Although this is indeed a form of expression, it is easy to become so involved in a social persona that we lose track of our individuality.
A lack of individuality manifests in many ways through social media. When one is so invested in their “social life,” it creates a certain disconnect from our life outside of social media. From observations and even personal experience, this shift is subtle but recognizable. When someone becomes obsessed with a image of themselves on the internet, they begin to neglect the cultivation of real life. The developmental stages in life began to dissolve into a theatrical persona of oneself.
This fabrication has become inevitable. Many people have come to be familiar with this, though not many realize it. The importance of consciously disconnecting yourself from this disposition couldn’t be more important. Becoming more aware of this you can create an enjoyable social media experience, that is not detrimental to your originality.
Keeping a healthy image of yourself
Getting lost. Becoming so involved in social media to the point of utter confusion is–sadly–not very hard. While staying in control of your own appearance on social media, it is easy to begin to adopt and adapt to the “fabs” and trends circulating. While this can be incredibly enriching and eye-opening to have this exposed to so many individuals. Social media has also shown to be very effective in lowering confidence. Not only is social media another outlet for unrealistic standards to shine down upon the majority of our civilization, but now we are reflecting the process that used to be exclusive to models in magazines and billboards. From slight adjustments of lighting, to putting filters on a picture. social media has created an expansive outlet to present yourself. While many people are aware that social media isn’t always truthful in who people are, this doesn’t change the difficulty of not comparing yourself to these somewhat false images.
“I try not to base my worth on worldly things” says Anna Putnam, a junior at San Clemente High School. “and remember that people only post the good things in their lives”
One of the most common issues involving social media is this constant comparison we become accustomed to. Especially with young women. But in no way is this issue of social appearance struggles limited only to them. As a generalization, however, females are in a constant position of being made to think that there is always something they can fix. Ads for clothing, beauty products etc. that are targeted towards girls make them think they “need” these products or else they are not as beautiful as they should be. This is only amplified through social media. We are constantly engulfed in selfies, photos of models, or people who are doing exactly what we would rather be doing. Because of this overwhelming exposure to other people’s experiences we begin to feel our lives and our bodies are lacking.
As this process of self judgment is damaging to the psyche, it’s very important to recognize it when attempting to be a healthful social media user. When it comes to taking care of how much judgement you place on yourself, know that it is completely okay to simply unfollow someone who makes you feel like your life is not fulfilling. Be it a model, or even someone you know personally, it’s important to put your well-being first, especially when it comes to something as insignificant in comparison to your mental wellness, as social media.
Not getting disconnected
The ultimate contradiction of social media! Being so “connected” that you are completely disconnected from the actual humans around you. Stunting your relationship with others due to overuse of social media can actually become extremely detrimental. When we are so busy with social media, this begins to affect the way we relate to others, and the world. What has become of our social life is solely based upon how many followers you have, how many likes you get, or how “perfect” your feed is. These things while they may be entertaining, and useful to a certain extent as a source of interaction, should in no way replace the connections we experience in our real lives. The cultivation of relationships with other people are part of who we become.
And as the famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson goes: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Keep these important keys in mind when navigating your way through the complexity of individuality and social media, and never forget to care for yourself. Put your well being at the top of your priorities so that you may experience all aspects of life, not just those from a screen, with an open mind, and a heightened consciousness.